Passive subwoofer simply means the subwoofer does not contain a built-in amplifier and must be connected to an amplifier. Active subwoofer means the subwoofer has a built-in amplifier but must also be plugged into an electrical outlet. Neither active nor passive subwoofer are superior to each other in performance. A number of factors will impact the performance of the subwoofer, primarily the amplifier used to drive the subwoofer. Active subwoofers typically provide an easy and affordable all-in-one bass sound solution while in contrast, passive subwoofers allow a wider range of performance level and customization depending on the amplifier used.
Passive subwoofers are most commonly used in outdoor settings because they do not required electrical input, hence it is considered the "safe" low voltage option. However, as waterproof technology improves, active outdoor subwoofers are becoming more available. Caution and proper protection/installation should be used when deploying an outdoor active subwoofer.
For TIC subwoofers (GS50 and TFS50), they are designed to be used in conjunction with either standard audio amplifier or dedicated subwoofer amplifier. Using a dedicated subwoofer amplifier will yield the optimal bass performance but disable the satellite speaker capability. TIC's subwoofers have a built-in crossover to separate the low frequencies when connecting to a standard amplified speaker output. When connecting to a regular amplified speaker out signal, the subwoofer may sound inferior when playing as a standalone subwoofer without any other speaker because the crossover cannot suppress all mid and high frequencies of the full amplified signal. However, the difference may be negligible when listened to as part of a properly designed and installed entire sound system.